Kyrgios & co may fuel growth of Asian tennis
A top official of the ATP, governing body of men's professional tennis, says the emergence of younsters such as the Australian duo of Nick Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis and South Korean Chung Hyeon may fuel the growth of the sport in Asia.
"Last year, there were 20 players in the top-200 from Asia. Compare this to 10 years back, when there were only few players hailing from the region.
I always say that if we have 20 players from this region in the top 50, that will be the time when things will get really exciting for Asia," Alison Lee, Executive Vice President of the ATP said. Based in Sydney, Lee oversees the ATP's business affairs in Australia, Asia, Middle East, Russia and Africa. Besides these responsibilities, Lee is part of the ATP Commercial team and chairs the ATP Challenger Tour Committee.
"For sure, I am pretty excited about our new talent, especially with Nick Kyrgios and Hyeon Chung this week in Dubai. Along with Nick [Kyrgios], Kokkinakis has reinvigorated tennis in Australia. And the good thing is that they are starting to have that impact globally, not just in Asia," Lee told media here on the final day of the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open on Saturday.
Kyrgios won his first career title in Marseille earlier this month and showed all signs that he was ready for back-to-back titles till his pullout while trailing in the semi-final against eventual champion Stan Wawrinka on Friday.
Chung had mixed luck here after being knocked out in the first round of the singles by fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, but the South Korean made it to the doubles semifinals along with his partner Jiri Vesely. Melbourne-based Kokkinakis did not participate in Dubai, but the 19-year-old has been showing fine form rising to a career-high World No.71. One of Lee's observations in Dubai was that kids were coming up to ATP officials and enquiring about Kyrgios and Chung.